Lyonsden Blog

About Me


I’ve been interested in computers and gaming since the late 1970’s when my parents bought me and my sister our first games console. It was a Radofin Telesports IV and could play quite a few different cartridge based games – in colour! Graphics were very primitive and most games were ‘pong’ variants but it did have a few more interesting games. The Evil Knievel type one were you had to jump your ‘bike’ over an ever increasing number of ‘buses’ was a personal favourite with 9 year old me!

In the early 1980’s they bought us a Commodore Vic 20 for Christmas. This is the machine that started my love affair with computers that I still have to this day. Boasting a whopping 3.5K of RAM and 16 colours this was an impressive device at the time. I learned to program in BASIC and created all manner of games and utilities. It was something that really captured my imagination and educated me in a way that a NES or Master System could never have done. Of course I played games too, Gorf and Omega Race were fantastic. The Vic 20 also introduced me and my Dad to the joys of the text adventure game. It was blessed with several terrific Scott Adams adventures including; ‘The Count’, ‘Voodoo Castle’ and ‘Impossible Mission’ – experiences that I still remember today.

My next machine was a Commodore 64 – this time bought just for me as my sister had lost all interest in computers by this point. As much as I loved the Vic 20 the C64 was better in every way and so it was quickly cast aside by it’s more powerful sibling.  The graphics and sound were a huge improvement over the VIC and indeed the SID chip (responsible for the C64’s legendary music abilities) still sounds amazing today. Over the years I added many peripherals to it; A 1541-II Disk Drive, a 1520 Printer Plotter, a Currah Speech Synthesizer, A Dot Matrix printer and even Commodore’s  full-size Midi Keyboard and Sound Expander add-on. It was such a versatile machine I was still using it when I started University in the late 80’s where it helped me complete my assignments using Mini Office II.

Whilst I was still at Uni I finally found myself with enough money of my own to buy a computer myself. Naturally I gravitated straight towards Commodore’s new wonder machine – the Amiga. This machine really blew me away as it was so far ahead of it’s time. A built-in floppy drive, 4 channel stereo sound, 512K of RAM and a staggering 4096 colours!!! To put that into perspective I think the most a PC could muster at the time was 256 colours. The most amazing thing to me back then though was the multi-tasking. Being able to slide the ‘front’ screen down revealing the others ‘behind’ it running different programs was like magic. You could play a game whilst still having Wordworth, Deluxe Paint, Octamed and Workbench all running in the background. Back in the 1980’s this ‘pre-emptive multi-tasking’ was simply unheard of – no other computer had this ability.

The games it could play were simply incredible too. Titles like Lemmings, Syndicate and the early 3D games like Hunter and Archipelago entertained me like nothing had before. Games not only looked better but they now had the depth of gameplay to really suck you into their worlds and capture your attention. I was so smitten with this machine that I simply refused to use anything else right through most of the 1990’s. I upgraded a few times, to the Amiga 1200 and then to the beast that was the A4000. I equipped it with pretty much every expansion there was, including a 68060 accelerator, Picasso graphics card, Tocatta sound card, SCSI card, flatbed and film scanners and of course with the advent of the Internet a Supra 28.8k FaxModem. By the late 90’s I had to adapt to keep up with the trends at the time. Online banking (with custom software) became a thing – so I installed PC Task and Windows 3.1 on it so I could run the Barclays Internet banking software. It was quite sluggish but it worked perfectly. I used PhotoShop at work so wanted something similar at home. This was possible on the Amiga too with the aid of ShapeShifter which let me run MacOS 7.6 and PhotoShop like a charm. The two computers shared the same 68000 series CPU so this was an amazingly capable emulator. It also allowed me to run Mac games like Sim City 2000 and Marathon on it and they actually ran better than they did on most of the Macs around at that time thank to the Amiga’s faster 68060 CPU.

However by this time Commodore had been out of business for years. Despite all the upgrades I’d installed on my A4000 it eventually lagged way behind what the best PC’s of the day could offer. The internet was evolving rapidly but the software releases on the Amiga were stagnating and I couldn’t stay on the cutting edge any more. So I did what many had already done years before and bought myself a Windows 98 PC…

Fast forward to around 2015 and I had started to feel like computing and gaming had reached somewhat of a plateau for me. I had already dabbled with Apple Macs and didn’t really enjoy that experience. Long gone were the days where I could buy a new machine that offered a radically different experience from anything I’d had before. Maybe I had reached a ‘certain age’ too (my wife definitely thinks so!)  but I started to feel a strong draw back to these classic machines. Sadly I’d already sold most of the Amiga kit I’d amassed in order to pay for other things but I still had most of my Commodore 64 kit safely boxed up in storage. Amazingly most of it still worked when I unpacked it, even though it hadn’t been touched in 20 odd years! Since then I’ve been slowly trying to re-build my collection. Adding games and hardware that I used to own, some that I always wanted but couldn’t afford and even adding new stuff that didn’t even exist back in the day! Who knew there would still be a thriving C64 and Amiga scene over 30 years since they were launched!


My computer setups from left to right, C64, PC, Amiga 500, Raspberry Pi and Mac Mini running MorphOS.


About this site


I decided to create this site for a number of reasons. To record my adventures in obtaining/repairing and using old computers and tech, help catalogue my retro equipment and game collections and also to share projects, tips and ideas with other like-minded people. As time passes, information about these classic old machines is inevitably lost as the users that once treasured them have long since cast them aside. Often information that was once common knowledge decades ago has now become obscure or simply disappeared completely. I’d like to think that this site is helping to preserve some of that information and is helping others who share a similar interest in enjoying these devices in the 21st century.

This website is all my own work, warts and all. Every product featured or reviewed has been paid for out of my own pocket. All photos and artwork are my own too. The vast majority of the photos and videos have been taken with my mobile phone camera which right now is a ‘Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. Tripod videos have been taken with my Fujifilm X-T10 camera.

I don’t run this site for profit, I maintain it because I’m passionately interested in these old machines and I enjoy talking and creating content about them. Having said that, if you would like to show your appreciation for something I’ve created that has helped or entertained you then here’s my link.

Any donations, no matter how small, would be greatly appreciated and would help with my hosting fees and to pay for site plugins/themes and maybe one day getting hold of stuff to review too.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site feature affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay which earns me a few pennies if you buy something from them.


Special Mentions

A big thanks goes out to Benjamin Wimmer who provided the code to produce the 3D box art used in my software collection pages. If you’d like to include some 3D boxes on your site then take a look at his Big Box Collection website.

Contact Me

If you’d like to get in touch for any reason at all please use the form below. Alternatively you can email me at this address: ‘lyonsden.amiga at’.


Last Updated: 10th April 2021

45 CommentsLeave a comment

  • hello!

    I just came across your awesome website today, and have found
    a ton of very useful information already, especially related to my
    beloved commodore-machines, C64 and the Amiga (500).

    In short, great articles, very well written, with really good explanations.
    I’m pretty sure that i’m gonna stop by frequently.

    Just wanted to say that, so, keep up your good work & best wishes!

    (pls excuse my somewhat funny english, its not my native language..)

    • Hi Ric,
      Thanks very much for your kind words. It really means a lot to me to know that something I’ve written has proved useful/interesting to you.

      By the way, no need to apologise for your English, it’s great!

      All the best,


  • Love all the info here. Im an Apple II guy. Just bought a vic-20 on ebay. What would you recommend for a SD type option? Multi-cart, sd, the new digital audio one on ebay? Please advise what you think what would be the best option to play some old games. Maybe mess with basic a bit. Thank you!

    • Hi Dan,

      To be honest most of the best games on the VIC came on cartridge. This was because it allowed them to overcome the 3.5K RAM limitation so they could provide better graphics and game designs. I highly recommend you pick up one of these devices: Penultimate Cartridge (there’s a link to the company selling them in the article). It’s packed with great games and even incorporates numerous RAM expansions and BASIC extensions too.

      If they didn’t come on cartridge then most games on the VIC were released on cassette tape (in the UK anyway) and will be available for download as .TAP files (these are basically just digital audio samples of the original tapes). Personally I prefer the digital tape type devices as they more faithfully mimic the original experience of using a VIC. There are quite a few variations of these Tapuino type devices on ebay that you’ve probably already spotted. Either search for ‘Tapuino’ or ‘Commodore digital tape deck’. Once plugged in the VIC will think these are real datasette devices and you can load a game with SHIFT + RUN/STOP as you would normally. Some of these devices are sold with a memory card pre-loaded with a ton of VIC software too which is a terrific option as it saves you the tedium of trawling the net for games. You can also save onto these devices too so if you write some BASIC programs you will be able to save them too.

      Have fun! 🙂


  • I just found your post about the IDELED for A500 using my tiny board. Great article. Very ilustrated. Thanks for the review.

    Best regards,

  • Hi. You seem to have a reasonable 😉 VIC20 collection. Ages ago I wrote a (semi) commercial game in machine code called ‘Multibug’, a Centipede clone. I’ve been trying to hunt down a copy but to no avail. Would you happen to have a copy of that particular game?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi There,

      I’ve got quite a few centipede type games on the Vic including my personal favourite, Nightcrawler. Sadly I don’t ever recall having one called Multibug but I’ll keep an eye out for you. You say it was semi commercial – how was it released?

      • You know the drill… Found a local printer shop who printed the sleeves, copied the tapes myself, and a friend helped distributing them over regional computer shops.

        Obviously never made me rich 🙂

        I know the game entered the ‘copy and pass on’ domain at some time, as I ran into a few illegal copies a year or so after release. I should have kept a copy myself but for some strange reason I never did.

  • Hi Steven,
    Just found this site.

    We were in touch a lot back in the Amiga early internet days and we both had A2000 and MkIV Cortinas..

    Would be good to hear from you any time you get a chance

    Mike NZ

  • Hello, Steven.

    I have a read a lot of your posts about cassette players, how you repair them. You are a real master. I would like to know, maybe you are familiar with such info:
    – what kind of material should be used for belts? I have some friends who are like you, who understand how to repair. They told me that even in Japan the belts are made using rubber or polyurethane.
    There are some good site where it is possible to buy belts. like –,, Some of them you mentioned in your posts.

    So what do you think?

    Thank you.

    • Hi,

      Not aware of anyone using anything other than rubber belts for cassette and turntable use. Rubber is very good at dampening noise and vibration – exactly what you need in an audio device. Polyurethane belts tend to be used for more industrial purposes in machinery and such due to its increased strength and resiliency.

  • A great site. I am looking for the possibility to format an SD card under winuae, to record the system on it, and to use it on the Amiga 500

  • Hi

    I used to use gmail but until beginning of 2020 it doesn’t seem to work anymore
    Bit of a pain, something to do with the security of Gmail even if you turn on the sercurity App still no good 😐

  • Great site, thanks !
    It’s nice to still see love for the vic-20; it was my first computer too.

    Currently trying to create a collection of good quality scans of vic cartridge boxes; mainly to be used with Vice (Emulation Station / Retropie). Would it be possible for you to kindly share high res scans of your boxes ?

    • Hi Stefan,

      No problem at all, will zip up my scans and email them over to you. I’m afraid they are not all perfect as the boxes have endured some wear and tear over their 40 year life. I’m sure you can photoshop them if you want them to appear uniformly new.

  • Ik heb zelf ook commodore 1501 power monitor maar ik heb helaas geen handleiding!
    wil je aub even naar mij mailen? nogmaals bedankt!

  • Hi mate,

    I have picked up a snes comp pro honeybee controller and would like to convert to amiga. I have done a lot of searching but the only thing I can find is that you have a converted controller.

    I am eager to convert mine and wondered if you’d take some hi res photos of all connections and any chips etc that might have been included etc..

    If you can email me then I would be eternally grateful.



  • Hi, Noticed your review of the C64 cassette case with inbuilt LCD. I just bought a broken one of those that appears to have a corrupt pi SD card. I wondered if I could get an image of yours (even if it is just the basic framework without the images)

    • Funny you should say that as mine developed a fault a few months ago too. It powers on but the screen remains completely blank. I can see the LCD panel backlight is working but that’s about it. Is that what yours does?

      • Yes, screen is white. If you run the SD card on another pi it boots so far then shows it is corrupt (counts up on screen). I can’t get either partition to display when I hook it up as an external drive to a working pi (in the hope I could recover it). Such a shame!

  • Would you be willing to sell that cassette hand winder you made? Got a whole bunch of tapes that need to be lubed with silicone then cleaned off before digital transfer, and that winder would make things go much faster. Thanks!

    • Sorry I don’t really want to sell it. Was never my intention to sell these, just to document the process of making it so others could have a go if they wanted to.

    • If you are still interested I’m making a small batch of winders to sell. They don’t have the clutch to prevent winding in the wrong direction but are otherwise identical. This makes them mechanically simpler to produce and also more reliable. They’ll be £25 which includes postage (within the UK).

  • It’s funny, I came here to ask the same thing as Kev but looks like my question was answered already! If you ever need a side gig for site maintenance funds or whatnot, consider selling those tape winders, I’d be first in line (or I guess second after Kev). Turns out they do not commercially exist at all, and the occasional vintage ones that pop up are usually the cheap crappy ones. I’d pay a frankly irresponsible amount of money for one of yours, but with no access or knowledge about 3D printing I’m stuck!

    Great blog, I love your passion for sharing and preserving knowledge!

    • If you are still interested I’m making a small batch of winders to sell. They don’t have the clutch to prevent winding in the wrong direction but are otherwise identical. This makes them mechanically simpler to produce and also more reliable. They’ll be £25 which includes postage (within the UK).

  • Hi,
    thanks for creating the 3.1.4 installation guide, works great! One question remains: Where have you gotten this cool looking background used for Workbench? Are you able to share it?

  • Hi, it’s a very nice blog!

    I had C64 an Amiga 500 and I’m their fan till today. I don’t really want a real one none of them because they are very old, and it is almost no longer possible to find them in perfect condition. So I’m happy with the emulation and any good game I just want, for free. That would have been a futuristic idea in 1993 when I bought my Amiga.
    I loved these computers, and the games. But the games are still exist! Back then, I had the machines with some of the games. Now I have every games for these machines what I like , without the machines. But I have the emulator which is capable to make run them on my PC. Well, what would I say, I am satisfied 😀

    Of course, it would be nice to remanufacture these machines with a bit of modernization. Memory card instead of floppy, USB mouse, display port. There would be a huge demand for it. I would buy them too!

    • Hey what you wish for already exists. Do a Google search for ‘The C64 Maxi’. It’s a brand new C64 with USB ports and HDMI output. Pretty sure they are working on an Amiga model now too.

  • Hi

    I read your excellent article about getting a zip drive operational. I was wondering if you could give me a little help.

    I’ve just got my A1200 out of storage after 20 years. It still powers up, although I think the graphics chip may be damaged as the screen output is now black and white. However, the main reason I got it out again was to try to rescue my old files off the hard drive as well as a bunch of Zip disks

    I bought an AmigaKit CF Card reader and managed to copy all the files from the hard drive. So the next stage was to try the Zip drive. I have the Squirrel SCSI interface, so I plugged it in and gave it a go. The Zip drive powers up and the Amiga does seem able to see it. On startup, it shows a SquirrelZip Tools window and lists a Zip disk that is unprotected (even though there is no disk in the drive) there are also options for “Write Protect” “Format” “Eject” etc. All these things (including the listed Zip disk) are greyed out, so I can not actually click on anything. Inserting a Zip disk does not change this.

    If I open the run the SCSIMounter software in the SquirrelSCSI folder it scans the SCSI and finds the Zip Drive put says that its status is not ready. I’m trying to work out if there is just a setting that is incorrect or if the drive has actually failed. I did follow the guide in your Zip Dive article but had no luck.

    The only thing I have noticed is that when I insert the disk the drive spins up and then makes two clunking sounds as if it has opened the metal cover on the disk. But that is all that happens. The seek light does not turn on. Basically, what I want to ask is does your drive do the same or does it sound like my drive is faulty?



    • That doesn’t sound right at all. The orange read/write light should come on briefly after a few seconds as it reads the disc. It shouldn’t be making any clunking noises at all except for a light mechanical sound as it moves the heads into position to read the disk.

      • Thanks for the reply. I suspect that something has gone wrong with it over the intervening years. I just couldn’t remember how it used to behave. It’s a shame as I hoped that it was going to be okay. I guess I’ll have to look for a replacement on eBay. But, as you mentioned in your article, I’ll make sure it is tested and working before purchase. Thanks for the help.

  • Hi there!
    Thanks for the FTP to C64 (Ultimate) tutorial – it was very useful, and i did link to it on Gideons Ultimate user Group on FB – hope you do not mind. I am 52 years old, sucker for RC helicopters, C64 and gaming. Never had an Amiga. Back in the days i gave all my C64 stuff away and i regretted it ever since. Found a used C64 breadbin in very good condition and hardly yellowed. Got a new PSU for it and got a 1541II. So now i am rolling again with a Ultimate 2+L cart and a new joystick. I have preordered the Ultimate 64 mk.2 board, and hopefully we see it before the end of this year.

    • Glad you found it useful, always nice to hear. In the same boat as I sold a lot of my stuff back in the day too. It’s just what you do when you want to buy the next big thing. Definitely regret it now although I have more than replaced it all thanks to eBay! Hope you enjoy your Ultimate 64 board – might pick one up myself one day to give my OG C64 a rest. At the moment I’m waiting for my Mega65 to arrive – been waiting 2 years for it so far!

      By thew way, if you like the Ultimate II Cart then I’m currently writing a review of another amazing expansion for the C64 that I should have ready sometime next week. Hopefully you’ll find it interesting.

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